Bodybuilding German Volume Training

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Bodybuilding German Volume Training

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  • 3/11/2015 Bodybuilding.comGermanVolumeTraining!

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    2.6KSupersets and trisets allow you to perform a lot of work in a short period of time. The rest-pausemethod allows you to use heavier weights, so you can recruit the higher threshold muscle fibers, andeccentric training enables you to overcome strength plateaus. The bottom line is that almost anytraining method will workprovided you do it with intensityat least for the few weeks it takes for yourbody to adapt to it. There is, however, one training system that stands above all the rest. It's brutallyhard, but I've found it to be a very effective way to pack on muscle fast!

    In strength-coaching circles, this method is often called the Ten Sets Method. Because it has its roots in

    GERMAN VOLUMETRAINING

    March 10, 2015 Charles Poliquin

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    German-speaking countries, I like to call it German VolumeTraining. To the best of my knowledge, this training systemoriginated in Germany in the mid-'70s and was popularized byRolf Feser, who was then the National Coach of Weightlifting.A similar protocol was promoted by Vince Gironda in the U.S.,but regardless of who actually invented it, it works.

    In Germany, the Ten Sets Method was used in the off-seasonto help weightlifters gain lean body mass. It was so efficientthat lifters routinely moved up a full weight class within 12weeks.

    It was the base program of Canadian weightlifter JacquesDemers, Silver Medallist in the Los Angeles Olympic Games.Jacques was known in weightlifting circles for his massivethighs, and he gives credit to the German method forachieving such a spectacular level of hypertrophy. The samemethod was also used by Bev Francis in her early days ofbodybuilding to pack on muscle.

    The program works because it targets a group of motor units, exposing them to an extensive volume ofrepeated efforts, specifically, 10 sets of a single exercise. The body adapts to the extraordinary stressby hypertrophying the targeted fibers. To say this program adds muscle fast is probably anunderstatement. Gains of 10 pounds or more in six weeks are not uncommon, even in experiencedlifters!

    GOALS & GUIDELINESThe goal of the German Volume Training method is to complete ten sets of ten reps with the sameweight for each exercise. You want to begin with a weight you could lift for 20 reps to failure if you hadto. For most people, on most exercises, that would represent 60% of their 1RM load. Therefore, if youcan bench press 300 pounds for 1 rep, you would use 180 pounds for this exercise.

    For lifters new to this method, I recommend using the following body-part splits:

    BODY-PART SPLITSDay 1: Chest & BackDay 2: Legs & AbsDay 3: OffDay 4: Arms & ShouldersDay 5: Off

    When using this program or any other, you should keep a detailed journal of the exact sets/reps andrest intervals performed, and only count the repetitions completed in strict form.

    TERMS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW

    Search

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    Rest Intervals: When bodybuilders start with this method, they often question its value for the firstseveral sets because the weight won't feel heavy enough. However, there is minimal rest between sets(about 60 seconds when performed in sequence and 90-120 seconds when performed as a superset),which incurs cumulative fatigue. (Interestingly enough, you might find you get stronger again during theeighth and ninth sets. This is because of a short-term neural adaptation.) Because of the importance ofthe rest intervals, you should use a stopwatch to keep the rest intervals constant. This is important, as itbecomes tempting to lengthen the rest time as you fatigue.

    Tempo: For long-range movements such as squats, dips and chins, use a 4-0-2 tempo; this means youwould lower the weight in four seconds and immediately change direction and lift for two seconds. Formovements such as curls and triceps extensions, use a 3-0-2 tempo.

    Number of Exercises: One, and only one, exercise per body part should be performed. Therefore,select exercises that recruit a lot of muscle mass. Triceps kickbacks and leg extensions are definitelyout; squats and bench presses are definitely in. For supplementary work for individual body parts (liketriceps and biceps), you can do 3 sets of 10-20 reps.

    Training Frequency: Because this is such an intense program, it'll take you longer to recover. In fact, ifyou're familiar with the writings of Peter Sisco and John Little, you'll find that the average "Power FactorRating" of the 10-sets method is about 8 billion. Consequently, one training session every four to fivedays per body part is plenty.

    Overload Mechanism: Once you're able to do 10 sets of 10 with constant rest intervals, increase theweight on the bar by 4-to-5%, and repeat the process. Refrain from using forced reps, negatives orburns. The volume of the work will take care of the hypertrophy. Expect to have some deep musclesoreness without having to resort to set prolonging techniques. In fact, after doing a quad and hamssession with this method, it takes the average bodybuilder about five days to stop limping.

    BEGINNER/INTERMEDIATE PROGRAM: PHASE 1This is a sample routine based on a 5-day cycle. Once you've used this method for six workouts perbody part, it's time to move on to a more intensive program for a 3-week period.

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    DUMBBELL FLYES

    Day 1: Chest and Back

    A-1 Decline Dumbbell Presses,10 Sets, 10 Reps, 4 0 2 0 Tempo, 90 sec RestInterval

    SEMI-SUPINATED GRIP (PALMS FACING EACH OTHER)

    A-2 Chin-Ups10 Sets, 10 Reps, 4 0 2 0 Tempo, 90 sec RestInterval

    PALMS FACING YOU

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    B-1 Incline Dumbbell Flyes3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, 3 0 2 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    B-2 One-Arm Dumbbell Row3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, 3 0 2 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Notes: Rest 90 seconds between each "A" exercise and each superset; rest 60 seconds between each"B" exercise and each superset. Incidentally, I only recommend three sets of ten in this program for the"B" exercises. The "B" exercises constitute supplementary work, and doing ten sets of them wouldresult in overtraining.

    Printable Page PDF Document

    Day 2: Legs and Abs

    A-1 Barbell Squat10 Sets, 10 Reps, 4 0 2 0 Tempo, 90 sec RestInterval

    A-2 Lying Leg Curls10 Sets, 10 Reps, 4 0 2 0 Tempo, 90 sec RestInterval

    B-1 Leg Pull-In3 Sets, 15-20 Reps, 2 0 2 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Or Low-Cable Pull-Ins*. (*Low-Cable Pull-Ins: Take a weightlifting belt and buckle it. Attach it to the lowpulley of a cable crossover machine. Lie down on your back in front of the machine, and hook your feetin the belt. Then pull your knees toward your chest.)

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    B-2 Seated Calf Raise3 Sets, 15-20 Reps, 2 0 2 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Notes: Rest 90 seconds between each "A" exercise and each superset; rest 60 seconds between each"B" exercise and each superset.

    Printable Page PDF Document

    Day 3: Off

    Day 4: Arms and Shoulders

    A-1 Parallel Bar Dips10 Sets, 10 Reps, 4 0 2 0 Tempo, 90 sec RestInterval

    A-2 Incline Hammer Curls10 Sets, 10 Reps, 4 0 2 0 Tempo, 90 sec RestInterval

    B-1 Dumbbell Lying Rear Lateral Raise*3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, 2 0 x 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Another Variation: Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises: While seated on the edge of a bench with yourtorso bent over, raise the dumbbells out to the side, making sure the top two knuckles (the ones closestto your thumb) are in line with your ears at the top of the movement.

    B-2 Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, 2 0 x 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Notes: Rest 90 seconds between each "A" exercise and each superset; rest 60 seconds between each"B" exercise and each superset. "X" in the tempo means to move as fast as possible, keeping theweight under control.

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    Printable Page PDF Document

    Day 5: Off

    BEGINNER/INTERMEDIATE PROGRAM: PHASE 2After six of those 5-day cycles, I recommend you do a 3-week phase where the average set is 6-to-8reps, and do only 4-to-6 sets per body part over a 5-day cycle, or you can do any other split that suitsyour recovery pattern. After this 3-week block, you can return to the German Volume Training methodby doing the following ten sets of six reps routine. In the exercises that are prescribed for 10 sets, use aload you'd normally be able to do 12 repetitions with. The goal in this phase is to do ten sets of six withthat load.

    "FOR LONG-RANGE MOVEMENTS SUCH AS SQUATS, DIPS AND CHINS, USE A 4-0-2 TEMPO; THIS MEANS YOU WOULD LOWER THEWEIGHT IN FOUR SECONDS AND IMMEDIATELY CHANGE DIRECTION AND LIFT FOR TWO SECONDS."

    SAMPLE 10 SETS OF 6 ROUTINE:Day 1: Chest and Back

    A-1 Incline Dumbbell Press10 Sets, 6 Reps, 5 0 1 0 Tempo, 90 sec Rest Interval

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    A-2 Wide-Grip Rear Pull-Up10 Sets, 6 Reps, 5 0 1 0 Tempo, 90 sec Rest Interval

    PALMS FACING AWAY FROM YOU.

    B-1 Dumbbell Flyes3 Sets, 6 Reps, 3 0 1 0 Tempo, 60 sec Rest Interval

    B-2 Bent Over Barbell Row3 Sets, 6 Reps, 3 0 1 0 Tempo, 60 sec Rest Interval

    Rest 90 seconds between each "A" exercise and each superset; rest 60 seconds between each "B"exercise and each superset.

    Printable Page PDF Document

    Day 2: Legs and Abs

    A-1 Barbell Deadlift10 Sets, 6 Reps, 5 0 1 0 Tempo, 90 sec Rest Interval

    A-2 Seated Leg Curl10 Sets, 6 Reps, 5 0 1 0 Tempo, 90 sec Rest Interval

    B-1 Twisting Crunches3 Sets, 12-15 Reps, 3 0 3 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

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    B-2 Standing Calf Raises3 Sets, 12-15 Reps, 3 0 3 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Rest 90 seconds between each "A" exercise and each superset; rest 60 seconds between each "B"exercise and each superset.

    Printable Page PDF Document

    Day 3: Off

    Day 4: Arms and Shoulders

    A-1 Parallel Bar Dips10 Sets, 6 Reps, 5 0 1 0 Tempo, 90 sec Rest Interval

    A-2 Incline Hammer Curls10 Sets, 6 Reps, 5 0 1 0 Tempo, 90 sec Rest Interval

    B-1 Dumbbell Lying Rear Lateral Raise*3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, 2 0 x 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Another Variation--Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises: While seated on the edge of a bench with yourtorso bent over, raise the dumbbells out to the side, making sure the top two knuckles (the ones closestto your thumb) are in line with your ears at the top of the movement.

    B-2 Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises3 Sets, 10-12 Reps, 2 0 x 0 Tempo, 60 sec RestInterval

    Notes: Rest 90 seconds between each "A" exercise and each superset; rest 60 seconds between each"B" exercise and each superset. "X" in the tempo means to move as fast as possible, keeping theweight under control.

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    Printable Page PDF Document

    Day 5: Off

    GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING FOR THE ADVANCED TRAINEEFor the advanced trainee, variety in training is even more important to elicit adaptation. With theadvanced trainee, I use a system called the four percent method. That is, I increase the load 4-to-5percent every workout for two workouts in a row, and I reduce the target rep by one rep for everyweight increase. Then I reduce the weight 4-to-5 percent and increase the rep bracket to its originalstarting point. Since this is mathematical, let's look at an example that will clearly illustrate this point.

    Let's say you can barbell curl 100 pounds for 12 strict reps, and you haven't been able to increase theamount of reps or weight on this exercise. Here's a sample routine that would increase your curlingstrength:

    "FOR THE ADVANCED TRAINEE, VARIETY IN TRAINING IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TO ELICIT ADAPTATION."

    Sample Barbell Curl Routine

    Barbell Curl

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    Workout 1: 10 sets of 6 @ 110 lbsWorkout 2: 10 sets of 5 @ 115 lbsWorkout 3: 10 sets of 4 @ 120 lbsWorkout 4: 10 sets of 6 @ 115 lbsWorkout 5: 10 sets of 5 @ 120 lbsWorkout 6: 10 sets of 4 @ 125 lbsWorkout 7: Test day. At this point, you would curl 120 for 12 reps, a 9% gain over 6 workouts!

    Here's an example of the German Volume Training method with the 4% to 5% method for someonewho can bench press 300 pounds 10 times in strict form.

    Sample Bench Press Routine

    Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip

    Workout 1: 10 sets of 5 @ 300 lbsWorkout 2: 10 sets of 4 @ 315 lbsWorkout 3: 10 sets of 3 @ 330 lbsWorkout 4: 10 sets of 5 @ 315 lbsWorkout 5: 10 sets of 4 @ 330 lbsWorkout 6: 10 sets of 3 @ 345 lbsWorkout 7: Test day. At this point, you would bench press 330 lbs for 10 reps.

    CONCLUSIONTo recap, perform the Beginner/Intermediate Phase 1 program for six weeks (six 5-day cycles). Then,progress to the Beginner/Intermediate Phase 2 program for three weeks. After that, you'll be ready tograduate to the Advanced program.

    This program is elegant in its simplicity, but that's what the Germans do best. Just ask any MercedesBenz or BMW owner.

    RECOMMENDED FOR YOU6 MISTAKES THAT ARE KILLING YOUR GAINSTaking the next step in muscular development is partiallyabout training better, but it's just as much about removingthe roadblocks to anabolism that hold you back. Are youcommitting any of these crimes?

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    THE NO. 1 REASON YOU'RE NOT GROWINGJust showing up and lifting isn't going to maximize yourmuscle and strength gains. Here's how to implement themost critical principle of bodybuilding: progressive overload.

    FROM POWERLIFTER TO BODYBUILDERShawn Frankl went from focusing on strength as apowerlifter to carving out a bodybuilder's physique. Hefollowed different approaches to training and nutrition butlearned that, above all else, nutrition is the key.

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